Robert Oulton sentenced to life in prison in wife's murder
Oulton convicted last month of second-degree murder
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A man convicted of second-degree murder in the death of his wife of 40 years was sentenced Thursday to life in prison.
Robert Oulton faced a mandatory life sentence if the jury had convicted him of first-degree murder.
Oulton's son fought back tears as he read a letter to his father in court.
"You viciously and violently killed her," Brian Oulton said. "That's hatred, not an accidental murder. In my opinion, you deserve no mercy. ... You dragged me, my wife, our children -- your grandchildren who you supposedly love so much, and both sides of the family through this circus that you wanted to have."
Oulton took the stand during his trial last month, breaking down at times as he told the jury how he hit his wife, Yvonne, repeatedly with a hammer on Easter Sunday in 2010. He said he hid her body and tried to cover up the crime.
"I swung and I hit her and she kept hitting," Oulton said.
Oulton's son testified against his father during the trial. Brian Oulton said it was two days before he found out that his mother had been murdered, and two more days before he found out that his father was accused of killing her.
Prosecutors said Oulton beat his wife and left her to die in the family van after they argued about their son's business partner.
"I was covered in blood and I just held her," Oulton said. "I don't know how long I held her. I knew she was dead and then I wandered around...I got scared."
The defense called Yvonne Oulton's death manslaughter and not premeditated first-degree murder.
According to police, Oulton played poker at a casino after killing his wife and called his son later that night to tell him that his mother was missing.
After a brief search, Brian Oulton said his father led him to the van and her body.
Detectives said Oulton confessed to the killing once he was alone in the interrogation room with his son.
On Thursday, Oulton told the court that he had contemplated suicide, but decided against it because of his son.
"I couldn't stand the thought of my son losing me, too -- both parents," Oulton said. "If he wasn't there I could have gone somewhere and done something."
Follow Shyann Malone on Twitter @ShyannMalone
Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10
Copyright 2015 by Local10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.